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Puppeteer Noel MacNeal Lends a Hand

When Noel MacNeal speaks, children listen, even though they don't know it's his voice they hear coming from  "Sesame Street" characters or the muppets or Bear, on Disney's "Bear in the Big Blue House," among others. Champion puppeteer MacNeal visits Stepping Stones Museum on March 12, to help kids make puppets, including Flutter By, Butterfly, Origami Lion and Origami Frog, as featured in his book, "10-Minute Puppets." As the gentle, befuddled Bear of "Bear in the Big Blue House," MacNeal won a Daytime Emmy Nomination as Outstanding Performer.  His menagerie of celeb puppet characters also includes Magellan from the Ace Award-winning series Nick Jr. series "Eureeka’s Castle." He animated Madame Chairbird in the "Sesame Street" film "Follow That Bird," and brought Rabbit to life in Disney Channel’s Emmy Award-winning series, "The Book of Pooh." And Leon on PBS’s "The Puzzle Place," was MacNeal's character, as was Knock-Knock on "The Great Space Coaster."

MacNeal has been involved with "Sesame Street" for 20 years and starting out there, trained with the greats, Jim Henson and Frank Oz. Over the years he's shared his expertise with puppeteers in Japan, Mexico, South Africa and the Middle East where other "Sesame Street" productions were forming, and worked as a script consultant. The Chicago Tribune said about MacNeal's book, "We love the can-do spirit and great projects in Noel MacNeal's book, '10-Minute Puppets.'" It's just the same spirit he'll bring to Stepping Stones Museum on March 12 at 2 p.m. when he meets kids and gets them started on their own puppet creations. Admission is $10 and $12. For more information, visit the Museum's website.

Which of Noel MacNeal's characters do your kinds like most? Let us know by posting below.

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